3:03: That’s your lot folks. Almost no overrun tonight. What a strange but thoroughly entertaining show.
3:01: Strowman wins, hurling out Anderson. Cole nearly short-circuits. The Bar are not amused at all. In fact, they look terrified. This is some odd booking, I have to say, but at least it is interesting. My money is on Elias being Braun’s partner because it is WWE, so why not?
3:00: Strowman returns to take out Titus and Gallows. “Is RHYNO going to WrestleMania” bellows Coach. About Bo Dallas. Oh man.
2:58: Everyone teams up to attack Strowman on the outside with steel steps. Braun eventually goes down, going through the ringside barriers. He is not out of the match though. 10-minutes in and Cole is still giddy about Braun being part of the match.
2:53: Wait, is this the main event? So, no Lesnar, no Ronda, no Undertaker, no Steph, no Triple H? You would have expected at least one of them – especially as Ronda was supposed to be on every show. I am not complaining as such – especially about Steph – and I think it is unwise for Rousey to be there every week, but still.
2:51: Strowman mashes everyone, so the remaining guys team up to get rid of him. And fail. The Revival pick off Rhyno to massive boos. It’s his hometown, you see.
2:49: It’s Raw jobber tandem battle royal time with the usual suspects until Braun Strowman forcibly inserts himself into the match. He’s a one man tag team, it seems!
2:41: Kurt appoints a referee for Ultimate Deletion – which is happening next week. The poor ref thinks he is being punished for something but Kurt says he just wants to make sure nothing too bad happens. Well, considering what Bray just said about “something bad” happening to Matt’s family, I think he needs more than one sappy ref!
2:40: In a hype package, Matt Hardy introduces the entire Broken Universe clan at the Hardy Compound, which does indeed include his wife, kids, son-in-law and drone. I know everyone hates the ‘Woken’ gimmick compared to what it was in Impact but I, for one, am really looking forward to Ultimate Deletion and think it will help Matt’s character get over properly. Bray Wyatt does a promo in response threatening to murder Hardy’s family. Well, that’s what it sounded like anyway.
2:34: After Jax squashes King, GTV (essentially) catches Bliss backstage with Mickie. They discuss Bliss ripping into her last week, and Alexa says she could have been way harsher. She compares her to Shrek, says she is as dumb as she is big and that she has her in the palm of her hand. Nia stands in the ring and listens to all of this. It’s brutal, but excellently done. It feels completely unlike most WWE segments. Far more natural.
Charly Caruso walks into the room and tells the duo that the mic has been on the whole time so everyone heard what they said. She fails to point out that the camera was also on. Alexa and Mickie freak and flee as Nia composes herself and marches to the back to confront them. By the time she gets there they are gone, so Nia trashes the locker room and lets out an anguished scream. It’s raw and emotional. Rather than hokey ra-ra, this feels like a genuine issue and a believable storyline. Kudos to WWE – it’s captivating.
2:25: It’s squash match time, as Jax takes on hapless jobber Joan King.
2:20: Backstage, Nia Jax sits in her locker room where she is confronted by Bliss. Nia says she didn’t come out because Kurt told her not to because she has a match next. Bliss starts into part two of her excellent promo last week, telling her not to sulk about losing to Asuka and saying she loves her. They hug, it’s all very sweet. Jax promises to be in Alexa’s corner next week for her match with Asuka.
2:16: Asuka wins, obviously, and Bliss storms off. Asuka spent the majority of the match selling, further eroding her invincible aura.
2:14: Aaaaand the crowd is chanting “Rusev Day”. What’s the matter with some people? It just goes to show that women’s wrestling in WWE still has a long way to go before it is accepted by the masses in the same way as the men.
2:13: Asuka accidentally kicks the post and nearly gets counted out. They are setting up a leg injury to make people think Charlotte has a chance of beating her. Cole astutely observes that Charlotte’s finisher is a “figure eight eight”. Indeed.
2:12: It’s a little weird that having established it will be Asuka vs. Charlotte, WWE are still building tension between Alexa and Asuka. To what end?
2:10: When we return from commercial it’s Asuka vs. Mickie James in progress, made official during the commercial by Kurt. Mickie is dominating, natch.
2:07: Bliss applauds Asuka for “choosing the champion of the B-show”. Asuka responds – in English – saying she chose Charlotte because “to be the woman you’ve gotta beat the woman” and that she chose the best champion in WWE. Bliss says she chose the easy option so Asuka reminds her that she already beat her and challenges her to do it again. Bliss refuses and tries to bring out Nia Jax, but she doesn’t show. Mickie gives Asuka a cheap shot and leaves her out on the mat. Urgh. THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO BOOK SOMEONE WHO CANNOT BE BEATEN! When Mickie freaking James is cleaning her clock, what the hell does an unbeaten streak even mean?
2:03: Alexa Bliss interrupts before Asuka can get a word out. She reckons Asuka is only challenging Charlotte so she can keep her streak alive because she is scared of facing her. Didn’t Asuka beat her a few weeks back?
2:01: Why would they let Charly Caruso wear those high heeled boots in a promo with Asuka. Does she think she is Stephanie McMahon?
1:56: Asuka is out next, to reveal who she is facing at WrestleMania, apparently. I think we all know the answer, given we were basically TOLD last night.
1:54: Video package time, as the show slows to a crawl. This one is all about Ronda Rousey and the McMahons. It’s a good package, but in a month’s time I will have seen this (and whatever else they do to add to it) about twenty times, so I am preemptively sick of it already.
1:45: As discussed in WrestleTalk Magazine and on this website, WWE confirms the first even Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Of note, the match is announced as being open for “any brand”, which allows several NXT talents to be involved, as well as stars from the past. So, basically the Women’s Royal Rumble mark two.
1:43: That Raw sign behind the commentators causing HILARIOUS dithering effects in their hair. Oh man, they look so ridiculous. More the damn LCD screen.
1:41: Balor rolls through from a Rollins superplex into a cradle to steal a win. Rollins cannot beat Balor, that’s the story they are telling.
1:37: They should have done this Balor-Rollins match earlier when they first teased it rather than after the Cena segment, because the crowd are not really with it after the Undertaker call-out. It’s fine, of course, but it is not much more yet.
1:35: Is it even possible to “officially” go rogue? Seems like an oxymoron to me. Especially considering WWE officials channels are tweeting about it!
.@JohnCena has officially gone rogue…
— WWE (@WWE) March 13, 2018
1:29: Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins should have been a team in the Mixed Match Challenge
1:22: So, Elias left. Strowman does a promo backstage where he says PIANO a lot (and we get a cringe-worthy subtitle to support it) then warns he will create his own destiny to get a WrestleMania match. Not-at-all-coincidentally it’s Balor vs. Rollins next . . . Hmm . . .
1:18: Elias is still alive! Though, he is wearing a neck brace after last week’s barking mad Symphony of Destruction match against Braun Strowman. His tunes are sad and wistful this evening.
1:16: The Bar complain about their treatment so Kurt Angle makes a battle royal between the Raw tag teams to figure out who the number one contenders are for WrestleMania. But they are all useless, as has been proven week after week in their defeats to the champs. It’s gotta be a new team, right? RIGHT?!
1:09: Cena challenges Undertaker again and again, and is surprised to see that his mic is still on. To Cena, that means the reason the match is “impossible” is not because of WWE officials, but because of Undertaker. Cena tells him, “Get over your own ego. When I fail, I get back up, put a smile on my face and go back to work the next day. When you fail, you bury your head in the sand . . .” Cena says Taker is not too old or broken down (“because if you were you wouldn’t be posting workout videos on your wife’s Instagram”). Cena then calls ‘Taker a self-centered egomaniac, which gets a great “oooh” from the crowd. Cena goads ‘Taker some more and tells him the ball is in his court. Outstanding promo from Cena. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand the entire time.
1:05: After Sky’s best efforts to ruin Cena’s promo with a temporary fault, we return to Cena playing cheerleader, helping the crowd get “Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks” out of their system because they won’t be able to do it at WrestleMania. Cena then declares that he is going to do the thing that he is not supposed to do because what’s the worst that can happen . . . then he challenges Undertaker to a match at WrestleMania. The crowd obviously approves. Wildly.
1:03: Cena says that he is going to be at WrestleMania as a fan. Is anyone actually expected to buy this?
1:00: Cena claims he has finally found his Road to WrestleMania. The crowd chant for Undertaker. “Very kind of you, hope they’re listening . . .” he says, pointing to the back. Cena says he is NOT going to contribute to WrestleMania this year. Yeah, right.
00:57: It’s time for John Cena to act like he is not going to be on the WrestleMania card . . .
00:52: The Revival, Titus Worldwide, Gallows & Anderson and Slater & Rhyno all attack The Bar before the match even begins. The idea is they are getting taught a lesson for lording it over the rest of the tag division. Well, yeah! Look at it! They are a bunch of geeks and jabronis! I hope this is not going to lead to a multi-man tag bout. Please, just no.
00:50: Talk about scraping the bottom the barrel: The Bar take on The Miztourage, with Miz’s two goons getting a WrestleMania title shot if they win. Lord above.
00:48: Okay, I take it back. It seems the Balor vs. Rollins match is going to take place later on.
00:43: Rollins tries hard to put over the importance of the IC title and declares that he is “FIRED UP”. He promises to win the title, but Balor disagrees and reminds him what happened last time they wrestled in a title match (Balor won with one arm to become the first Universal champ). Things get heated, so Balor and Rollins decide to fight right now (which the crowd love the thought of), only to deck Miz instead for his pot stirring. As Balor shows off his brand new “please push me” abs, Rollins clocks him. I guess we are not having that match after all? This crowd are going to be dead by the end of the show if they keep promising them things they want and then not delivering.
00:40: Miz tries to talk Rollins and Balor into a singles match at WrestleMania instead of a triple threat, because he is worried about losing his title and failing to break the longevity record. His transparent attempts to stir the pot achieve little success.
00:34: It’s time for MizTV with Seth Rollins and Finn Balor as guests. Will more people get added to the IC title three-way at WrestleMania?
00:30: This is perhaps the least impressive WWE Hall of Fame field I have ever seen. You could make a damn good case against all of them. There’s nobody there who makes you go, “Yeah, he/she should definitely be in” but there’s a good few that are highly questionable. What do you think? Let us known in the comments below or by tweeting @jdixonwriter or using the hashtag #wrestletalkraw
00:28: The Kid Rock fluff piece claims that he changed WWE history because his naff Metallica ripoff was used as Undertaker’s entrance theme in 2000. Yeah, it changed it alright – it made Undertaker unwatchable.
00:26: Michael Cole calls it an “honor” to welcome Kid Rock into the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame. Give me a break!
00:24: Bayley helps Sasha fight off Absolution, then Banks taps Deville with the Bank Statement. Bayley leaves rather than staying to celebrate so Absolution take the opportunity to hit the ring and take out Banks. Bayley doesn’t return to make the save.
00:18: It’s Soyna Deville vs. Sasha Banks in our first match of the night for . . . reasons. Well, the reason is because WWE always do a women’s match after the opening segment. It’s part of their standard formula.
00:15: Renee Young tries to interview Roman Reigns coming out of Vince’s office but he storms past her. Vince grants Renee an interview and says Lesnar is not anyone’s “boy”, he is his own man. Vince quotes “Roman’s cousin” The Rock, saying Roman needs to “know his role and shut his mouth”. After noting that Brock – like Roman – has certain privileges that he has earned, then promises that Lesnar will be here next week, giving his word. The close the interview, Vince drops a bombshell: Reigns has been suspended for the lack of respect he showed Vince at the top of the show. Credit to WWE, this is a great angle. It won’t work – Reigns will still be booed out of the building by the smart WrestleMania crowd because everyone knows it is not true – but they are trying hard and executing it well.
00:10: Is this the earliest Raw has ever cut to commercial? If you can think of an earlier time (and let’s be honest, if you can, what’s the matter with you?) let me know by using the hashtag #wrestletalkraw
00:08: Roman Reigns comes out to address Brock not being in Detroit. The babyface turn is seemingly not working, because the crowd “What?” him throughout. Reigns asks Angle what repercussions Lesnar will face for no-showing, then answers his own question: “Nothing, because he’s Vince’s boy.” Reigns says anyone else would have been fired or given a huge fine. Reigns blames Vince McMahon. He says he just walked past Vince and was not even given the courtesy of being told that Lesnar was not there. “I will not be disrespected by Vince McMahon” growls Roman, who then confronts Vince (with SHANE) at Gorilla. “Go to commercial” yells Vince. A bizarre but quite excellent start.
00:03: As hinted at earlier, Kurt Angle confirms that Brock Lesnar is NOT going to be on Raw tonight. Gotta love that false advertising, huh?
23:58: A midnight start for us brave UK souls tonight rather than 1AM. Oh, the joys of daylight savings.
23:53: I refer you to 23:40 . . .
23:40: I am hearing rumblings that there is going to be some MAJOR controversy tonight on Raw. Should be interesting to see what develops. Likely the opening segment . . .
23:27: It will be this week or next week, though I would have expected an announcement by now if it was tonight.
23:26: There’s certainly a very good chance . . .
@JDixonWriter #wrestletalkraw Will the undertaker appear on raw tonight
— usman (@usmanashraf6358) March 12, 2018
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